Heavy rain wreaked havoc on a farm yard in Western Cape.
The farmer was in despair after the losses recorded on his farm.
The floodwaters swept through the farmhouse and the family had to evacuate.
Wesseljan van Deventer, whose farm Blydskap is about 2km from the N2 outside Riviersonderend, said the farm had 351mm between Friday last week to Tuesday morning.
“From about 04:00 on Monday to 12.30, we got 275mm. We lost 75 sheep, mainly young animals, that got trapped in the corners of the camps and they trampled each other under the water,” Van Deventer said.
“The house is full of water, we can’t stay there. It came from the lands right through. Our water supply is gone, the pumps and the pipes, and fencing. You can’t walk through the lands. There has also been a lot of soil damage, soil loss. But that’s the game in farming. I would rather have floods than drought. We’ll survive this.
The flooding closed the N2 near Riviersonderend on Monday.
While some have called this “early winter rain”, Henning Grobler of the SA Weather Service said it was a cut-off low pressure system that caused the widespread rain.
“It’s definitely not early winter rain, and it’s not summer rain either. Cut-off low systems are not uncommon, and generally give a fair amount of rain. They often result in heavy downpours in just a few hours,” Grobler said.
The weather service describes a cut-off low as part of a low pressure system that becomes cut off from the main circulation. It loses momentum and can “just sit for days” before dissipating. They bring a range of weather types, including torrential rain, and are one of the main drivers of flood damage.
Although the rain was widespread, from the West Coast across the southern part of the Western Cape to the Tsitsitsikama and Little Karoo, the rainfall was patchy, and none as high as that of the Riviersonderend area.
The SA Weather Service said rainfall measured on Monday was 145mm in Riviersonderend, 37mm in Swellendam, 48mm in Riversdale, 22mm in Ladismith, 25mm in both Robertson and Worcester, 32mm in Porterville, 21mm in Laingsburg, 25mm in both Struisbaai and Mossel Bay, and 32mm in Kirstenbosch. Only 3.8mm was measured in Oudtshoorn, although some farmers in the area had between 20 and 30mm.